The day after an anti-gay marriage bill died in the Texas House, 93 of the chamber's 98 Republicans signed a letter affirming the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.
The Texas Tribune reports:
The House Republican Caucus on Friday released a letter reaffirming its support of the state’s long-standing ban on gay marriage, calling marriage between a man and woman a “principle that is so dearly held by Texans far and wide.”
“This letter provides legislative support and a legal foundation for the Texas constitutional provision,” Kelly Carnal, executive director of the caucus, said in a statement.
The letter was signed by 93 of the 98 House Republicans. Those who did not sign were: Sarah Davis of West University Place, Jason Villalba of Dallas, Matt Schaefer of Tyler, Larry Gonzales of Round Rock and Speaker Joe Straus.
Schaefer, a tea partier, told the Tribune he didn't sign the letter because he wanted action, not words, in opposition to same-sex marriage.
Even though his anti-gay marriage bill fell victim to Thursday night's deadline, GOP Rep. Cecil Bell Jr. says he hopes to re-introduce it as an amendment to other legislation. From The Dallas Morning News:
“We missed an opportunity tonight, but the session is still intact, the session still moves on,” Bell told reporters. “No bill is dead, as long as there are other bills in front [further along in the process]. You just have to find something that’s germane. … We will continue to look for places that it fits [and] work to get this effort … done.”
Bell said that his bill easily would have passed if it had come up Thursday for a vote — and would have drawn some Democratic votes.
“I don’t believe that standing up for sovereignty is a partisan issue,” he said.
LGBT advocates are also warning that with two weeks left in the Texas legislative session, there is still a risk of anti-gay amendments. One could emerge Monday, when GOP Rep. Scott Sanford gets another chance to introduce a proposal that would give child welfare agencies a license to discriminate against LGBT people. However, Sanford's amendment would need a two-thirds majority to pass. There are 98 Republicans and 52 Democrats in the House. If some Democrats vote for Sanford's amendment or are absent, opposition from Republicans like Davis and Villalba — who declined to sign the anti-gay marriage letter — could be crucial.
While the vast majority of the record number of anti-LGBT proposals introduced in Texas this year are officially dead, the leader of the hate group Texas Values says his side is "#StillWinning":
Read the anti-gay marriage letter signed by 93 House Republicans, AFTER THE JUMP ...